Allagash Vagabond Ale - Allagash Brewing Company
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 69 | Display Reviews Only:
3.93/5 rDev -5.3%
Huge thanks to Joe for sharing this one, tasted alongside Gargamel and Victor Francenstein.
Pours with very little carbonation and settles in as a murky orange brown...looks like tea actually.
Aroma is interesting and unexpected with the sweetness of the maple syrup dominating with dark fruits and sugar. There is a definite oak character with some spiciness, while the tartness is very, very subtle. It smells almost like a port.
The taste starts with some sweet, but overripe dark fruits, with a little more tartness than the aroma but still not much. The sweet sugary backbone and sweet port flavors are dominant until the finish where the oak starts to show.
The mouthfeel is boozy and a little dry, but, again, really feels like a tawny port on the palate. Carbonation is low.
This is an interesting sour though nothing like I was expecting. Less like a sour and more like an after dinner wine.
11-06-2010 02:10:57 | More by gford217
3.63/5 rDev -12.5%
Official tick #2300 (although my BA review count is less than half of that at the present moment) - let's do this! André (Bardwashrind on BA) was nice enough to open this 375ml bottle when I was in Denver for GABF, so big thanks to him for hooking up this milestone tick. At #2300, many beer ticking journalists can't help but draw comparisons to Michael Jordan, the best basketball player of all time, who wore #23. Do I have what it takes to become the Michael Jordan of beer ticking? Probably not, but I can probably at least be the Michael Jackson of ticking. CHEE-HEE!
This tick - I mean beer - pours into the tulip glass a hazy reddish-brown color. A well-formed whitish head sits on top.
Tart funky oaky and nutty aroma. The -bal aging asserts itself, along with caramel and some vinous and acetic notes. Slightly buttery, but otherwise nice.
The flavor has a caramel and nutty malt base, as well as red wine, vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Rather oaky and funky...and oh, I almost forgot: buttered chives. You've heard it before for this beer I'm sure. It's undeniable, and I just can't get past it.
Pretty solid mouthfeel for the style. Slight acidity on the mouthfeel with average carbonation and medium body. Slightly tannic.
This is a pretty good wild ale. Is it a great one? Not even close. Above average but not worth the hype in my opinion. But oh man that rarity tastes so good sometimes!
10-15-2010 20:35:20 | More by nickd717
4.25/5 rDev +2.4%
Got this some time back in a trade and decided to open it since everyone else it at GABF....
A - pours a dark ruby red, burgundy, with a single finger of puffy off white head which recedes to thin sheet with webs left when swirled.
S - oak, malt, vinegar, vanilla, and some dark fruit. slightly reminiscent of a Rodenbach grand cru, but not quite as malty.
T - Malty and spiced similar to a BSDA, oak still present with dark fuites (plums and raisins).
M/D - good carbonation as always from Allagash, not overly acetic or citric so it goes down easy without destroying the palate. It reminds me of a mix of Cuvee de Tomme and Rodenbach Grand Cru.
Another great wild ale from Allagash. Not exceedingly sour, but enough to keep me very interested in another sip.
09-20-2010 00:21:31 | More by xpimptastikx
4.1/5 rDev -1.2%
375ml bottle thanks to an outstanding BA. Split amongst a few of us at our Epic Allagash Tasting.
A- Pours a slightly murky copper with amber hues and tones. Thin white head leaves average lacing.
S- Off the bat, oak. Lots of oak. Some musty wine like aromas as well.
T- Interesting. Oak mixed with dark fruits (figs, plums). Toffee and buttery flavors in the finish.
M- Medium body, smooth, light carbonation. Not as sour/tart as I'd like, but thats my preference.
D- Complexity and a variety of flavors make me come back for me more. Slightly more acidity or tartness would bump this up in my book.
Overall - Hype and rarity aside, Vagabond is a good brew. Good, not great. I'm a fan of things tart/sour, and this could have used a touch more. Definately glad I was able to try this and I would get more if the opportunity arose.
08-29-2010 15:50:25 | More by mrandypandy
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
Poured from the bottle into a tulip. I've been saving this one for awhile. Watch out when opening this, the cork wants out of this bottle.
Pour is a nice looking burnt sienna, perfectly clear. A light tan head forms and sticks around a while, but ultimately recedes to nothing. When swirled, the beer sticks to the sides of the glass for a brief instant. Nice looking beer.
Huge oak aroma. Strong aspects of vanilla, backed up with dried berries and dates. I detect the slightest mild bretty funk as well, though I wonder if I'm imagining that aspect of this beer.
Oak, oak, oak. Vanilla, raspberry, dates/prunes, and more oak. Not as sour as I would like, but that's admittedly a personal preference. It's actually close in nature to a Flanders red in terms of the balance between the sweet and the sour, though not in any other way. Dry-ish finish.
Mouthfeel is appropriate.
Drinkability is very strong. I could drink a lot of this beer if I wanted to. That said, while this is a very good beer, it's not in the upper echelon of American wild ales. Almost any sour by Russian River and Lost Abbey beats this one, head-to-head. Of course, that's perhaps not a fair fight in the first place, with those two breweries putting together epic sour beers. I can recommend this beer, but it's not worth trading your cellar to be able to tick it.
08-23-2010 03:12:51 | More by davod23
District of Columbia
3.88/5 rDev -6.5%
Bottle consumed 6/27/2010
Appearance: Near still pour, although if I listen I can hear tiny pindrops of carbonation. Dark ruby red, nearly opaque.
Smell: Raspberry aromas, along with plums, prunes, light tartness, funk, and oak.
Taste: Not overly sour or tart, the raspberries dominate, followed by plums and fruit. Also some funk and oak in the backseat, along with a hint of port. A bit similar to consecration; I enjoyed the oak element here (but I like oak in anything but chardonnay). Oak also seems to be of good quality, not cheap staves.
Mouthfeel: Lack of carbonation places a big ding here, I do like a flat beer but this isn't one of them.
06-28-2010 02:39:38 | More by craytonic
4.47/5 rDev +7.7%
Shared with Henkenberns, netwonty and DrewOSU tonight. Again, sorry Mr. Woods, I hope you had a good time at work tonight.
Pours a gorgeous, reddish brown with a nice, creamy white head.
The smell is quite different from Gargamel (obviously). Sweet caramel, toasted pecan, almond and other very unique smells.
My vocabulary is extremely limited at this time. Toasted pecans, caramel, very complex malts, wow.
This was newtonty's favorite beer of the night.
This beer was fantastic. Almost like KRE. Wow...
06-26-2010 00:49:46 | More by beachbum1975
4.63/5 rDev +11.6%
Thanks to maltzilla for sending this my way!
A- Pours with a 1/2 finger foamy white head which eventually fades to a thick collar and leaves little to no lacing behind in the glass. Body is a dirty bronze hue that is slightly translucent with a dynamic cloudiness.
S- The overall impression of the nose is mild, soft, and balanced. Vinegar, slight tartness, vinous grape, and pear come through.
T- Flavor is very balanced and mildly sour. This is a really complex brew and with every sip I am picking up something new. Grape, light spiciness, light vinegar, yeasty background, raisin, cinnamon, apple, pear, soaked oak, . Overall impression is delicate, sweet, sour, and slightly oaky- a mild alcohol heat comes through for the finish.
M- Carbonation is soft. Body is medium weight and exceptionally smooth and yeasty.
D- I had no idea while drinking this that it was 10%! This is an awesome brew-its delicate and very complex overall. Probably the best I have had from Allagash (that isnt a collaboration) so far. I love it!
06-21-2010 00:41:20 | More by PittBeerGirl
3.98/5 rDev -4.1%
375 mL bottle, courtesy of someone's name who's lose to the ages - many thanks to him! Split at the C'ville Throwdown #3, poured in to a tulip.
Appearance: Pours a largely transparent but surprisingly dark - that is, caramel copper amber - body, inviting but not exactly radiant. The initial fuzz that appeared atop this one - about a quarter-finger tall - fades quickly to a thin swirl on the surface and a fairly thin collar. Extreme agitation leaves a few glittery, runny blobs of lace on the sides of the glass that last for less than twenty seconds before dripping back down the sides of the glass.
Aroma: Very sweet and fruity, but also very herbal. Lemon and other sour notes mingle with peppery, dill, and cardamom notes to hint at lemon baum and sassafras, but there are also a lot of darker malt notes - toffee, caramel - and a few lighter flourishes, vanilla mostly, courtesy of the American oak. At points its almost like teriyaki, sweet and slightly spicy and fairly herbal with a hint of acidity. Mild funk and an unfortunate amount of alcohol brings - that suggests a rail-level rum and diet coke at some level - it down to a 4.0, but it's not an unpleasant smelling brew.
Taste: Well that's interesting. More funk than acidity, at least relative to my expectations based upon the nose, but the main aspect of this one that stands out to me are the herbal notes. It's anise-like at some points, particularly in the finish, but with tons of dill and slight thyme, though those two notes do work well with the lemon acidity note. The dark base malts lend toffee, definite brown sugar and maple syrup, specifically, though there's also a fair amount of barrel notes, slight vanilla and coconut. A remarkably odd assortment of flavors, and one that I'm more entertained by by virtue of the task involved with teasing them apart than by the way in which they work together.
Mouthfeel: A thicker beer, but reasonably well-attenuated, with no sugary notes or cloying attributes. Slight amounts of carbonation in an otherwise very slightly carbonated brew make for a nice though not outstanding mouth.
Drinkability: Perhaps a little hyped, and this makes me want to seek out that Gargamel less. I wasn't terribly impressed by this one, though I do respect it for what it is - an early attempt at a wild ale by a prominent east coast brewery that hasn't really tried this before, and for that I do appreciate it. It's mostly the odd combination of flavors and aromas, so maybe it was partially expectations that threw me off a little. Also, the 10% abv has to bring this one down a little - I would hope (or need, perhaps) for something a lot crisper, lighter, more cleansing than this for a 10% brew. Regardless, this one would be worth seeking out if you could get it for less than what I'm sure someone would charge you to trade/buy this one now. If you can find it on the cheap, though, go for it.
06-13-2010 23:17:40 | More by CrellMoset
4.5/5 rDev +8.4%
Big thanks to Sarah for sharing this at our basically weekly tasting.
A-pours a cloudy, grainy copper color, rusty brown. a tight light tan head on the side.
S-oaky vanilla up front, wild yeast, grapes, balsamic, notes of tart cherries behind.
T-the taste has the wild yeast up front with notes of oaky wood underneath. a touch of earthy grain, very light balsamic notes, tart cherries and grapes in the back.
M-grainy on the palate, soft with a medium body. good carbonation with a crisp finish but not biting.
D-this is a well balanced sour with nice subtle flavors blending together very well this is a top notch sour.
05-31-2010 21:25:23 | More by cpetrone84
4.03/5 rDev -2.9%
jh1982 was nice enough to share this one with me. A very interesting brew that was very enjoyable. Served into a Lost Abbey tulip on May 24 during the Celtics vs Orlando playoff game.
The appearance on this one is beautiful. The color is so amazing, in the deep heart of the glass is a deep ruby red color that has a gradient out to lighter rose edges. With a medium strength pour it produces a one finger crisp khaki head that doesn't stick around for very long.
The smell is of fruits that include strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry. It also has some green apple sweetness with an acidic earthy wood smell. Tart and sharp, just a hint of wet sock funk.
The taste is good, but something is lacking. There is a nice tart berry taste that is very upfront, with some dry earthy tastes. The wood or oak tastes in this has to come from the barrel, and it is pretty strong. Notes of cranberry, raspberry, some lactic cheese, and a sour funk. I think this one would of been better when it was first released, the fruit flavors would be stronger and more pronounced.
The beer overall is good, but I believe when this came out it was gathering a fair amount of hype. Like I said earlier, when it was first released it might have been better, but as is this doesn't deserve the value it's at. Its a good Wild Ale, but nothing spectacular.
05-27-2010 04:04:57 | More by Jmoore50
3.73/5 rDev -10.1%
Sampled March 2010
A soft pour produces a fat, one-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated red color that shows a clear, rich ruby hue when held up to the light. Quite fruity smelling with raspberry seed notes, bright berry aromas, some light tartness, quite a bit of tannic, spicy oak. The more I inspect this the more the oak becomes apparent and the fruit falls to the background; almost smells like a freshly cut oak plank at times. The fruit aromatics come out if I take a break from the nose; this really is quite fruity with a spicy, fleshy raspberry, perhaps a touch of dark plum notes and some complimentary clove aromatics and brown sugar notes.
Quite tart tasting based on the light spiciness that was in the aroma. This has quite a bit of body to it, and it seems to have a lactic slickness to it that washes the beer off the palate; there is also a tannic texture to this. Oak flavors are perhaps the most dominant (at least after the initial hit of lactic sourness), with ample peppery, oak-derived spiciness, a freshly cut wood-plank flavor, some very soft butterscotch, and maybe just a hint of vanillin. The fruit flavors are much more subdued compared to the aroma; but still notes of rich plum, seedy raspberries and some soft berry notes are noticeable under the oak. A rich, caramelized, perhaps even maple like note mixes with oxidized, dry sherry notes and perhaps some hints of port sans sweetness.
This is just a bit too over-oaked; it gets in the way of the other flavors and can seem a bit heavy-handed at times; having said that, if you don't mind oak flavors, this is actually a pretty tasty brew.
05-05-2010 16:24:44 | More by Gueuzedude
3.98/5 rDev -4.1%
12.7oz bottle, corked and caged, wrapped in paper with a gold colored seal. The cork popped out with a loud report but thank God no gushing.
The beer is dark reddish copper color, clear, with initially a few fingers of off-white foam that quickly changes to no head. The aroma is a little similar to Consecration, dark fruits (mostly plums) and hints of earthy funk.
This tastes somewhat sour, but more tart and flavorful than acidic. Lingering after-taste not unlike a fruity red wine. Less carbonation than expected based on the cork pop, but it fits the flavors well.
This is closer to the taste of wine than most other beers I'd tried. Definitely recommended, but not something to pay too much for.
04-03-2010 20:52:53 | More by TurdFurgison
4.47/5 rDev +7.7%
Thanks to Samichlaus for trekking up to Portland, Maine for the release to pick this up for our trade! I brought this one out of the cellar for our epic tasting, beer number 16 overall, number 7 on day 2.
The cork nearly popped right out of my hand as I twisted it to open, but despite the heavy pressure in the bottle, there was not even an inkling to gush. Not too much head in the pour either, and the body of the ruby brown liquid is clear. Appearance is almost like that of an oud bruin.
A lot of acetic aromas in the nose. Dark cocoa powder and raspberry tartness highlight a big sour funkiness. They are supported by brown sugar sweetness and some cherry notes as well. On the palate, the acidic sourness and sour cherries come through again. The four years spent in barrels contribute a strong oakiness. Peach esters come through in the middle and give way to a pronounced woody earthiness that blows me away. The earthiness stays with me after the finish, too. This beer is extremely well-balanced.
Incredibly smooth, the acetic aroma doesn't make it into the flavor profile. The balance and earthiness couple nicely with the fruity esters and sourness to make this one a highlight of the day for me.
04-02-2010 04:11:46 | More by NittanyBeerFan
4.25/5 rDev +2.4%
Dan shared this rare beer this past weekend. Thanks a bunch, man!
Mildly hazy amber with a thin off-white head with great retention and some lace. Solid. The nose is great. Surprisingly acetic for an Allagash beer, there's also a mellow oaky vanilla, brown sugar, and cherries. Alcohol is noticeable, as is a little chocolate. The nose is beautifully integrated. The funk character is low, and the blend of vanilla and brown sugar brings to mind a pleasant caramel. This makes me think of a Bon Chien, but only less wild.
The palate opens moderately sour with a blend of juicy over-ripe lemons and vinegar with a great vanilla and brown sugar. Oak is prominent, noticeable in the finish with a mellow tannin character balanced bu a delicate sweetness. Moderately fruity, I get some berries and stone fruit, Earthy on the finish, this is smooth and quite excellent. Medium-light in body with a moderate carbonation, this beer was a pleasure to consume.
03-29-2010 22:50:46 | More by DefenCorps
4.43/5 rDev +6.7%
Big thanks to bmanning for opening this up at a recent tasting.
A: Pours a dark reddish copper with some nice carbonation throughout.
S: Lots of oak and sweetness coming from dark fruit and hints of maple syrup. A little bit of funk in there as well. Very unique.
T: Quite similar to the nose with just a lot going on. Not completely blended together in the flavor department, but there were so many little things about it that I enjoyed. The dark fruits, oak, and funk were a great combination.
M: Pretty smooth with fairly low carbonation and a light-to-medium mouthfeel.
D: Definitely would not have guessed that this one was 10%. Very drinkable with some nice flavor characteristics.
03-16-2010 10:36:26 | More by Thorpe429
4.08/5 rDev -1.7%
Reddish brown with a small off-white head leaving some lacings.
The aroma is quite intense and peculiar. Lots of semi-funky barrel, smooth mild edgy bourbon, herbs and lactic notes. Hints of caramel, leather and nuts.
The taste is quite spectacular. It's very spicy and has quite a lot of fresh herbal notes to it (thyme, dill). Then, along comes prominent barrel notes of wet wood. Some malty caramel sweetness and muted and strange bourbon notes. Lactic and tart middle leading the way to a tannic and herbally bitter finish (do I taste rocket?) with notes of tart cherries.
Medium to full body, smooth with a dry finish.
Definitely a weird one. A strange and interesting, surprisingly herbal, character, Complex and edgy with a nice tart side to it. But also more fun than good actually. Can't think of many occasions when I would crave anything like this.
02-23-2010 23:11:12 | More by ricke
4.4/5 rDev +6%
Thanks to chowdahead for sharing a bottle.
I was hoping to age this one for a while, but I'm only human and curiosity got the best of me.
Not too much head on the pour and little lacing. Appearance is like that of a typical oud bruin. Nose and taste are very Cantillon-esque though the 10% ABV is not, but this beer is designed for sipping.
The cherry tartness was balanced by subtle oaky, musty flavors. I won't go into all the beautiful nuances of this beer, but from a big picture perspective, this tasted like a perfect blend of a lambic and an oud bruin - loved it.
02-22-2010 18:03:05 | More by ElGallo
4/5 rDev -3.6%
Shared by ipa247. Thanks, Jeff!
Vagabond is a clear chestnut brown in the glass, beautifully colored but virtually headless. The aroma is musty, fruity, a bit buttery, like a rich California chardonnay. There's a touch of solvent beneath the surface, and a sweet vinous aroma that reminds me of cognac. On the palate it's nutty and warming, cognac coming to mind again along with dark fruits, white wine and malt vinegar. The finish is dry, woody, very tannic, and the mouthfeel a bit slick. This isn't sour per se; more tart, musty and oaky. An interesting and drinkable beer, clearly a big step up from Gargamel, but nothing outstanding.
02-19-2010 04:20:27 | More by largadeer
4.4/5 rDev +6%
Pour - dark auburn with nice reddish hues and lots of tiny suspended bubbles (my friend said it looked like a tiny galaxy in the glass). The head is seltzery and off-white in color. Pretty amazing stuff to look at and ponder what exactly went into the formation of this particular elixir.
Aroma - maple syrup, sour mash, cider vinegar and slight hints of vanilla. Very unique smells that make you realize this is something special. The maple aroma is very apparent and it reminds me of a maple liqueur somewhat until that sour funk smell kicks in.
Taste - a sip of this makes your mind go to work. It something you want to enjoy but really analyze as well. A lot went into this beer so a lot comes out of the bottle. Flavors of maple, light vanilla, dark fruit and of course sourness abound. A little more sour than I might have expected but I'll take it, especially from a beer brewed without fruit, pretty damn amazing. Light and bubbly on the tongue, this beer can't be 10% alcohol?!?! Wow. Just wow.
Overall - If you can appreciate the creativity, know how and patience that goes into creating a beer like this then you certainly should give this a try. Sours are not easy to make and the margin for error is extremely slim. This is a great beer and one worthy of your finest glassware and a good amount of your free time.
Would I buy more of it? - wish I could. Two bottles per person was the limit and they are long gone. Thanks goes out to my buddy Luke over at BlogAboutBeer for generously giving me one of his two bottles. Cheers Luke!
01-31-2010 03:28:37 | More by indiapaleale
4.93/5 rDev +18.8%
After having Gargamel I was really looking forward to this beers relase.
A: Poured a murky brown color with just a touch of red. Much darker than most other wild ales out there except for Brabant. Little bit of head that had just a touch of brown in it.
S: The smell is nothing short of awesome. TONS of oak. Every kind of dark fruit you can think of mixed but never becomming abrassive. Dates, raisins, plums. With that there is a little bit of funk to it as well. Some maple syrup. Just a really weird but great nose.
T: Again lots of barrel. Little bit of funk. Just like nothing else I have ever had. Just amazing depth of flavor. You get all the dark fruit etc like you would from a Belgian dark. Then you get a little bit of funk. All backed by a massive oak flavor. Epic.
M: Very soft mouthfeel. Low carbonation but very smooth.
D: No hint of the ABV at all. Just an amazing beer. I don't know how this will age but I wouldn't. It is so smooth to begin with it might just become bland. Amazing beer.
01-29-2010 15:37:53 | More by aerozeppl
4.2/5 rDev +1.2%
Poured into my Allagash glass!
Appeared a nice, somewhat dark color, with more head then I was expecting for a 4 year old beer, but still, only about a fingers worth.
The aroma was quite enjoyable, and got me excited to drink it. Sort of a sweet caramel/green apple smell.
Taste was great. I am not a huge fan of sours normally, but this was a very complex sour flavor. A buttery/ caramel was present, along with a green apple tartness that was there, but bot over powering.
Not sure if I would pair this beer with a meal, I think its more of a stand alone beer. It was a very good beer, I'm glad I got 2 bottles!
01-27-2010 04:14:59 | More by buffettfan
3.45/5 rDev -16.9%
375mL bottle. Generously shared by ipa247 at his recent sour tasting. Thanks, Jeff.
A: Pours a brilliant, clear maroon/amber body with a finger of off-white head. It retains moderately well, collapsing into a respectable collar and displaying some effervescence up the glass. Not much in the way of lacing.
S: Nuts, solvent, wood, spirit (cognac?), fruity somehow (eventually identified as buttery chardonnay by largadeer -- I got as far as "grapes").
T: Nutty and a little bit of barrel up front. It's more tart than genuinely sour. I'm tempted to say cherries. Either way, it nicely complements the white wine and cognac qualities that come through. It has a spicy, warm finish with some musty wood. No funk or vinegar here. Seems more like a tart strong ale than a sour wild ale. Miscategorization?
M: It's fairly mellow, and is not too hot, but warm.
D: It's pretty drinkable, though nothing I'd get up in arms over. I wouldn't turn it down but I certainly wouldn't seek it out.
01-15-2010 21:27:17 | More by Arbitrator
4.38/5 rDev +5.5%
Ruddy-brown with a 1/2" of off-white head. Spotty lacing.
Fruity, and acetic tartness on the nose.
Taste is bracingly sour, yet very approachable. Underlying oak and tannin helps to break up the flavors and dry out the finish. Plenty of carbonation, mouthfeel is lively enough to keep the sourness from getting old. High drinkability.
01-12-2010 04:32:13 | More by k3n
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
Pours dark mahogany/coppery chestnut brown color with a one finger pinkish off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing.
Slightly oaky butterny aroma with some roasted nut character. Surprising amount of malt alongside some faint dark fruit notes.
Very buttery, slick medium body that is prett tart and puckering without being acidic. The sourness is balanced out by the buttery notes and nutty character. This tastes a lot like a buttery white wine which is surprising given the style and appearance. Long dry finish.
01-10-2010 23:56:20 | More by corby112
Allagash Vagabond Ale from Allagash Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.